Few good fleet managers question the traditional benefits of a well-thought out and executed tire/wheel program. Reliability, safety, selection of quality products and service providers, and resulting low tire cost-per-mile are what they want, and they know that a top shelf program will do that.
So what happens, aside from periodic reviews and fine-tuning, after the initial hard work, technician training and final tire/wheel programs are in place? Are there other, often unexplored ways to leverage the results of these programs?
Since tire programs represent significant expenses, even in a well operated and maintained fleet, and can also affect driver preferences, safety concerns and uptime of the truck, fleets have begun using their established tire/wheel program for added benefits. Think about how these assets might be leveraged.
For example, good tire/retread selection and maintenance should result in fewer on-road failures and freight delays. Consider working with your fleet customers to create a brief but hard hitting presentation for the fleet’s sales and marketing types comparing on-time/uptime performance with earlier records. Specifically, emphasize the correlation with upgrades to the fleet’s tire/wheel program and noting improvements over time.
This information may be useful in their new business solicitations for the fleet, and will put your dealership in a strong position. The teamwork and customer satisfaction will go a long way with your customers.
It hasn’t been that many years ago when maintenance performance was evaluated primarily on the basis of exception reports. Statistics such as road failures, scrap rates, out-of-network service calls, premium priced unscheduled parts and service purchases and the like were norms.
With the improved reliability and extended service life of top shelf radials and retreads, running cost comparisons have come to the forefront. These are rightfully based on primary expenses such as tire, retread, and service costs. Secondary, less obvious benefits should also be considered and often must be pointed out as they are recognized.
Most potential driver hires, especially those paid on mileage, also appreciate the reliability and enhanced safety of avoiding roadside delays. Consider how your records might be configured to assist the safety managers/coordinators and driver recruiters/trainers with your fleet customers. It also seems logical that drivers who really appreciate reliable, well-maintained equipment would be more likely to have other valued characteristics as employees.
Tires, brakes, and other axle-end component failures often cause unscheduled delays that create a roadside safety concern in addition to the added expense of unscheduled parts and service needs. Reduced roadside parks, thanks to an excellent tire service program, should be a positive for insurance carriers another key cost for fleets.
Data substantiating such reductions should be compiled and shared with your fleet customers, especially those individuals who deal with insurers. Likewise, good technician training should result in fewer incidents of shop injury or safety concerns good for your insurance costs. Chances are the insurers aren’t going to discover this information on their own and offer credits for good performance, so take matters into your own hands.
The benefits of proper inflation maintenance are well documented. A lesser-promoted advantage is that well cared for tires can also pay dividends in the used tire and retreadable casing markets. This can be leveraged by fleets when they negotiate trade package vehicle returns, sell equipment, or sell casings or tire trade-ins to suppliers/retreaders because they run only new tires.
Although casing values are typically established after tire size and age have been answered, many retreaders are willing to negotiate tiered allowances or payments for premium casings, based on tire brand, virgin vs. previously retreaded units, axle position and maintenance records, especially inflation maintenance.
Keep in mind that each of these examples can only be exploited to your benefit if sufficient data is available to document your point. The most meaningful comparisons are likely to be improvements for your own operation, your performance related to an industry norm, or comparisons to any known competitors. Any one of these will require investigation and solid recordkeeping.
Some of this information likely exists in different areas of your company or with your fleet customers, and should be formatted so it can relate to either your dealership or your customers’ maintenance program.
Often, these records can be combined with other records to illustrate a specific point or meet the specific needs of the intended audience, like insurance companies. The good news is that new, cost-effective software and database management programs are available that greatly aid information gathering and analysis.
Detailed performance records of tires, retread and tire service as well as other wheel end services can prove beneficial to you and your fleet customers in many ways previously neglected. You may find a lot of money being left on the budget table for your shop as well as your fleet customers.